May 16, 2005
BE Conference 2005 Special Report
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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A weekly news magazine featuring important industry news profiles, a summary of recently published AEC product and company news, customer wins, and coming events. Brought to you by AECCafe.

Welcome to AECWeekly! The BE Conference 2005, held in Baltimore May 8-11, drew over 2,000 attendees from around the world. The organization of the conference was as follows: Monday was designated "Keynote Day" where Bentley executives gave an overview of their product areas, and Tuesday "Vertical Day" was dedicated to specific keynote tracks in each of the four product areas: building, plant, civil and geospatial. Read about it in this week's Industry News.

AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements, Announcements, Awards, and Upcoming Events.

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Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

BE Conference 2005 Special Report

By Susan Smith

The BE Conference 2005, held in Baltimore May 8-11, drew over 2,000 attendees from around the world. The organization of the conference was as follows: Monday was designated "Keynote Day" where Bentley executives gave an overview of their product areas, and Tuesday "Vertical Day" was dedicated to specific keynote tracks in each of the four product areas: building, plant, civil and geospatial. The keynotes were held simultaneously, so if you should wonder how I could be in four places at once, I attended one and interviewed executives from the other three.

Keynote Day

Tom Peters

Keynote Day at BE Conference 2005 launched with a keynote by well known speaker and author Tom Peters, author of Thriving on Chaos and Passion for Excellence, among other titles. Peters talked about how to be part of a "Wow" project, According to Peters, "wow" is when a project turns out to be really dramatically different than what it started out to be. Peters is fond of adages and repeatedly remarked that he was not worried about being invited back because he is now 62 years old, so he was talking to the audience as if it were the last time he would be at BE.

His emphasis was on the necessity for change in order to induce creativity. "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less," he quoted from General Eric Shineski, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, who incidentally was fired by Donald Rumsveld for not having done enough.

Peters charges that "best" is not good enough. He believes that the CFO should not become the CEO of a company.

Perhaps this quote from an article in Fast Company/October 2003 describes his message best: "In Tom's world, it's always better to try a swan dive and deliver a colossal belly flop than to step timidly off the board while holding your nose."

"As a civil engineer I wish I was a project manager for the Big Dig," claimed Peters, noting that digging a hole in a city (Boston) that's 400 years old that's built on landfill is a great job. "Wouldn't it be cool to say to your gson you were project manager for this project?"

(Interestingly, in last week's AECWeekly,
Thomas Koulopoulos had mentioned the Big Dig as one of the most exciting projects going on right now, precisely because of its scope and number of failures.)

"If you are a project manager, redefine what you do in a big way," said Peters. "I want you to change the world. Do you get it?" He got down from the podium and walked around in the audience. "My grandfather built Bancroft Hall. In its own small way it changed the world. I don't have any patience with anyone who doesn't want to do this. Nobody remembers any dork who came in on budget; they remember people who did cool stuff."

What's the definition of someone who made it into a history book? A total weirdo freak, said Peters. He doesn't understand why people would want to do a good job on budget. "Does the history book say Winston Churchill delivered World War II on budget? The British didn't eat for the next ten years after the war because it wasn't on budget."

"This is the true joy of life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."

GB Shaw, Man and Superman (from Mike Ray, The Highest Goal)

"Experiences are as distinct from services as services are from goods." - Joseph Pine

Peters used the example of Harley Davidson, offering the "rebel" experience.

"What we sell is the ability for a 43 year old accountant to dress in black leather, ride through small towns and have people be afraid of him." - a Harley executive was quoted in Results-Based Leadership.

Harley is 2% of the size of General Motors and their profit was 50% of that of General Motors last year.

"A chimera of a moonstruck mind" - refers to the decision of Thomas Jefferson to buy the Louisiana Purchase.

Peters cited numerous talented and creative people who had pushed the envelope in one way or another, to do something extraordinary that has changed the world. Basically, in spite of the fact that his talk was more of a tirade against those who were not reaching this type of significance, he was an inspiration to all types of human creativity.

Greg Bentley

In the past year, Bentley has acquired companies such as Optram, Nextwave, RAM, and last but not least, Haestad Methods - Bentley's largest acquisition ever, making Bentley a global leader in water and wastewater management.

CEO Greg Bentley gave a brief rundown of what each of those acquisitions will bring to Bentley:
  • Optram Inc. is a leader in rail/transit maintenance of way software
  • Nextwave is a leader in SAP/AEC integration.
  • Bentley has also formed a relationship with RAM International to take advantage of RAM's structural applications and RAM's comprehensive design of concrete frames, concrete slabs, foundations, and more. Bentley will begin introducing RAM products immediately and have consistent growth in the structural engineering product line.
  • Bentley also outlined key drivers in the following markets for Bentley North America -

  • BIM momentum -General Services Administration will require BIM in any building built next year
  • Plant
  • Oil exploration and oil sands, etc. Over 14,000 wastewater plants
  • Civil
  • SAFETEA funding.
  • Geospatial
  • Transmission and distribution
  • Broadband communications
  • Bentley International has enjoyed growth to majority of revenues and
  • Spawned Bentley Asia
  • Added direct locations, services
  • Building
  • Constructors, discrete manufacturers adopt BIM
  • Plant
  • Digital Plant eWarehouse adoption on largest projects
  • Civil
  • Rail lifecycle opportunities
  • Geospatial
  • Enterprise connections - strong player in leverage platform technology, electric gas/telcom and local government. Focused events in other venues such as Prague.

  • "You Deserve Better"

    A theme that was to occur throughout the conference was Bentley's more "aggressive marketing campaign" - including their e-marketing initiative, and the fact that Bentley strongly believes that AutoCAD users should not be facing "forced" retirement of their older software versions. This campaign is known as the "You Deserve Better" program. Of course, Bentley believes that those AutoCAD users who have faced retirement of an older version of AutoCAD software should purchase "a software that offers a win/win solution, Bentley Select, which does not have price increases," claimed Greg Bentley. Bentley Select, by the way, is not a software solution, it is a subscription
    program by which customers can purchase Bentley software one time per year and receive regular upgrades. "The clincher of this marketing campaign is our DWG interchangeability - this pays off in new account penetration."

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    -- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.


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